A terse note on the Fanfare Web site indicates that the “Fanfare beta has come to a conclusion, and the Fanfare application will be disabled as of 5/15/08.” As for the TakeTV hardware, a representative for SanDisk has confirmed to CNET that the TakeTV is no longer being sold. However, she went on to point out that existing users still will be able to use the product’s drag-and-drop feature for watching a variety of (non-Fanfare) digital videos on their TV. In other words, unlike those stuck with oversized paperweights when the Akimbo and MovieBeam services shut down, the TakeTV, at least, is still a usable product.
The problem was simple – customers were just not buying into the concept and in fact the Fanfare shutdown on May 15th was not noticed until June 6:
… had two things going against it:
1.) It was kludgey. You had to plug a USB device into your PC, download content, then put that USB device into another device that hooked up to your TV. Yeah, that’s easy.
2.) Lack of content. If you want people to buy a device that downloads TV content, you’d better offer lots of TV content. TakeTV’s Fanfare portal had deals with CBS, Jaman, Showtime, the Smithsonian, The Weather Channel and TV Guide Broadband. No ABC, no FOX — not even The CW. TakeTV had announced a deal with NBC, but it looks as though that never got implemented.
Not to mention the fact that SanDisk was facing heavy competition from better-known companies like Apple, TiVo and Xbox — all of which provided more content and an easier solution for downloading shows to your TV.
Sigh – all of the current alternatives for bridging the PC to TV gap are proprietary and/or kludgey and/or have limited content choices. Anyhow, strike Sansa’s TakeTV off the list.